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Publication numberUS6560116 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/024,116
Publication dateMay 6, 2003
Filing dateDec 18, 2001
Priority dateNov 9, 1999
Fee statusPaid
Also published asUS6366473, US20020080594, WO2001039568A1
Publication number024116, 10024116, US 6560116 B2, US 6560116B2, US-B2-6560116, US6560116 B2, US6560116B2
InventorsScott B. Sauer
Original AssigneePowerwave Technologies, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electronics apparatus with wall support structure
US 6560116 B2
Abstract
A method for supporting a wall-like structure by forming a serpentine shaped slot on a substantially planar surface. The serpentine slot includes an area of central clearance such that a wall-like structure having a width narrower than the width of the serpentine slot can be inserted into the area of central clearance and be supported by the inner sides of the serpentine slot.
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Claims(5)
What is claimed:
1. An electronic device comprising:
a wall structure; and
a substrate having a surface and a substantially serpentine slot defined in the surface of the substrate; wherein
the substantially serpentine slot supports and grounds the wall structure therein at a plurality of discrete staggered contact points.
2. The device according to claim 1, wherein the electronic device is an amplifier.
3. The device according to claim 1, wherein the wall structure is a mode wall.
4. An electronics apparatus comprising:
a substrate having a support surface and a substantially serpentine slot, having opposed slot sidewalls spaced apart by a slot thickness, defined in the surface of the substrate; and
a flexible wall structure having a thickness less than the slot thickness supported by the substantially serpentine slot at discrete contact points in a flexed configuration.
5. An electronics apparatus as set out in claim 4, wherein a straight line path between the slot sidewalls extending the entire length of the slot has a thickness less than the wall thickness.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION INFORMATION

The present application is a continuation application of U.S. Ser. No. 09/435,953 filed Nov. 9, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,366,473.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a method for supporting mode walls, or other wall-like structures, without the use of conventional attachment methods such as screws or clips.

2. Description of the Related Art

Mode walls are thin wall structures typically used within electronic equipment for a variety of purposes, including isolating electrical components from electromagnetic interference (EMI) emissions. Mode walls are necessarily widely used in a variety of electrical devices such as audio amplifiers, cellular phones, and others.

FIG. 1 shows a conventional method of supporting a mode wall structure within an environment of amplifier pallets. A mode wall 11 having an L-shaped feature 13 is positioned in a slot 16 between two amplifier pallets 10. The mode wall 11 is supported by using a screw 14, which secures the mode wall 11 onto a bed of substrate 12 by connecting the L-shaped feature 13 to the substrate 12. The substrate 12 has a cavity 15 that is wide enough to allow for insertion of the L-shaped feature 13. The L-shaped feature 13 and the cavity 15 must also be sufficiently wide to allow for insertion of an attaching mechanism such as a screw 14 and tools required to fix the attaching mechanism in place.

Many disadvantages are associated with the conventional method illustrated in FIG. 1. First, due to the compact arrangements of components typically found within electrical circuitry, it is often very difficult to insert a device such as a screw gun to secure the L-shaped feature 13 within the cavity 15. At the same time, it often becomes very difficult to insert a mode wall with an L-shaped feature into a slot that is, in the case of amplifier circuits, often no wider than 0.03 inches. Furthermore, because a cavity must be formed to support an L-shaped feature, at least part of one of the amplifier pallets 10 extends over empty space. Incidentally, surface contact with the underlying substrate material allows an amplifier pallet to disperse excess thermal energy, a process that is essential in achieving maximum power capability. Consequently, reduced surface contact with the substrate below, as in the case of a cavity formation, decreases an amplifier pallet's power capability.

FIG. 7 shows another example of a conventional method of supporting mode wall-like structures. Small metal clips 73 are installed at several locations on a circuit board 72 using either hand mounting techniques or surface mount technology. The mode wall 71 is then installed between the metal clips 73. The location and the number of metal clips 73 determines the grounding points for the mode wall 71 and therefore its relative effectiveness. Several disadvantages are associated with this conventional method of support. First, it can be costly to manufacture and install the metal clips 73. More particularly, it may become very difficult and time consuming to access through the neighboring components on the circuit board in order to align accurately each metal clip such that the metal clips 73 form an accurate linear path or a path matching the curvature of the mode-wall like structure to be installed. Second, it may become difficult to install the mode wall-like structure in between the clips, especially if the mode-wall like structure is not linear. Finally, a mode-wall installed using metal clips may not be appropriately grounded through limited contact using the clips.

FIG. 2 shows another example of a conventional method for supporting mode wall-like structures. A thin elongated slot 22 is cut on a substrate 20 using a diameter cutter. The diameter of the thin slot 22 is slightly larger than the width of the mode wall 21 such that mode wall 21 can fit snugly and rigidly into the thin slot 22. The mode wall 21 is grounded in several portions at which the mode wall 21 comes in contact with electrical contacts 23, which are tightly pressed between the outer side of mode wall 21 and an inner side of the thin slot 22.

The method illustrated in FIG. 2 also causes many disadvantages and difficulties. First, there is a limit on how thin a slot can be cut by a diameter cutter. Currently, the thinnest slot width able to be cut by a diameter cutter is about {fraction (1/32)} of an inch in width (approximately 0.03 inches). This minimum width requires the use of heavier sheet metals in order to accommodate a snug fit. In addition, a small diameter cutter has a significant deflection problem, which makes it difficult to meet and satisfy tight tolerances at any reasonable metal removal rates. Moreover, due to the deflection problem, small diameter cutters are often manufactured with a short overall length to minimize the deflection. Since the body of a diameter cutter is generally much wider than the cutter itself, this limits the cutter's ability to access tight spaces on the substrate within an amplifier case (a problem otherwise known as milling head interference). Finally, if a slot with interference is required, the full length of the slot must be an interference or snug fit, making it difficult to install a thin mode wall into the slot. An interference fit of this type often requires that the application of load from both sides of the slot to “crush” the mode wall in order for the mode wall to be properly secured. As a result, elements such as electrical contacts 23 from FIG. 2 become extremely difficult to assemble.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the disadvantages associated with conventional wall support methods by providing a method of supporting mode walls, or other wall-like structures, without the use of conventional attachment mechanisms such as screws or clips, and without the requirement of using small diameter cutters with high milling head interference.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a method which uses a medium to large diameter cutter to cut a serpentine path having a substantially straight centerline. The width of the serpentine slot and distance of the slot walls from the centerline is constructed such that an area of center clearance is produced by the cutting action. The area of center clearance produced is capable of supporting a wall-like structure having a width that is significantly narrower than that of the serpentine slot width.

One advantage of preferred embodiments of the present invention includes the ability to provide support to mode walls or wall-like structures without the use of small diameter cutters. The method according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention allows the use of a medium to large sized diameter cutter that is made of a more rigid structure, allowing greater cutting rates and the ability to meet and maintain tighter tolerances at such higher cutting rates.

Another advantage of the present invention includes the ability to support very thin mode wall structures that would not be possible or at least very difficult to support using conventional support methods. In particular, because the cutting of a serpentine path produces a central clearance having a width that is much narrower than the width of the serpentine slot itself, the serpentine slot is capable of supporting a very thin wall structure.

Another advantage of the present invention includes maximizing the amplifier power of an amplifier in an environment where the mode walls are supported between amplifier pallets. Specifically, because the preferred embodiments of the present invention abbreviates the formation of cavities underneath amplifier pallets to support an L-shaped feature, preferred embodiments of the present invention achieve greater thermal contact between the substrate and the amplifier pallet. This results in greater thermal capability for the amplifier pallet and therefore a greater power rating capability for the amplifier pallet.

Another advantage of the present invention includes providing the ability to ensure grounding of the mode wall or thin structure at predetermined locations or spacings as may be required. More particularly, the mode wall according to an embodiment of the present invention can be grounded at particular points of contact with the inner sides of the serpentine slot. By manipulating the numbers of curves per distance on the serpentine slot, the spacings between points or ground contacts can be accurately controlled. To allow guaranteed ground contacts at selected points, shortening the ground return distance for EMI and guaranteeing that particular spurious modes are grounded out.

Another advantage of the present invention includes providing the ability to easily manufacture boards or substrates having serpentine slots to support thin mode walls. An alternative to creating a slot other than by using a diameter cutter is to manufacture a substrate using a die cast method. When creating a slot using the die cast method, the mold includes a thin protrusion that can be used to cast a thin slot. In the case of a thin straight slot, it is often difficult to create a mold having a thin protrusion that is sturdy enough to be used to cast a thin slot. According to one preferred embodiment of the present invention, a thicker serpentine protrusion can be used to cast a thicker serpentine slot, while still supporting a thin mode wall structure.

A more complete understanding of the method for supporting a wall will be afforded to those skilled in the art, as well as a realization of additional advantages and objects thereof, by a consideration of the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the present invention. Reference will be made to the appended sheets of drawings which will first be described briefly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a conventional method of supporting a mode wall having an L-shaped feature.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of another conventional method of supporting a mode wall using a thin slot.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top-view illustration of a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top view illustration of an alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view illustration of yet another alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is an illustration of another conventional method of supporting a mode wall using metal clips.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described with references to FIGS. 3-6.

FIG. 3 is a perspective dimensional view of a mode wall being supported according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a method of supporting a wall, such as a mode wall, includes the steps of forming a substantially serpentine slot 32 in a substrate 30, and inserting a wall to be supported in the substantially serpentine slot.

It is preferred that a diameter cutter is used to cut the substantially serpentine slot 32 preferably in the substrate 30. However, other cutting devices, apparatuses or methods may be used to form the substantially serpentine slot 32, such as the die-cast method described below.

The substantially serpentine slot 32 is formed such that an area of central clearance is produced by the cutting action. The area of central clearance is best seen in FIG. 4 and is defined as an area bounded by a plurality of points of contact 33 defined by the substantially serpentine slot 32. The area of central clearance produced is sufficiently wide such that a sheet-like structure, such as a mode wall 31, can be easily inserted into the clearance while being supported by the inner sides of the serpentine slot at the points of contact 33. Although FIG. 3 illustrates mode wall 31 as having a greater height than the depth of the serpent slot, it is within the scope of the present invention to insert a sheet-like structure having a height measurement that is less than the depth of the substantially serpentine slot.

While the central clearance area should be sufficiently wide to allow the insertion of the mode wall 31, the central clearance area may be wider, narrower, or of equal width to the width mode wall 31. In the case where the clearance area is wider than the width of mode wall 31, the fit is referred to as a loose fit. In the case where the clearance area is narrower than the width of mode wall, the fit is referred to as an interference fit (i.e., forcing a slightly larger object into a smaller opening). In the case where the clearance area is of equal width to the width of the mode wall, the fit is referred to as a line-to-line fit. All three types of fit are contemplated within the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a top view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention. As FIG. 4 illustrates, although the width of the substantially serpentine slot 32 is preferably significantly wider relative to the width of the mode wall structure 31, the area of central clearance is much more narrow than the width of the slot 32, and is capable of supporting the mode wall structure 31 having a very narrow width.

FIG. 5 shows the top view of an alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention. A substantially serpentine slot 52 having an irregular curvature is formed such that a substantial portion of the slot is linear and does not include points of contact 53. This alternative method illustrates an example of selectively positioning the points of contacts 53 to be used to support the mode wall 51.

In an environment where a mode wall is to be used for isolating EMI emissions, the mode wall is preferably grounded at a spacing of about ¼ of the wavelength of the EMI field. However, not all EMI emissions have the same wavelength. The present invention's ability to easily and accurately position the points of grounding contact allows for one skilled in the art to design the substantially serpentine slot such that the mode wall is always grounded at spacings that are substantially equal to about ¼ of the normal EMI wavelengths, thus providing maximum EMI isolation.

It should be noted that in preferred embodiments of the present invention, the number and position of points of contact may be changed and adjusted according to a desired application or design. Thus, the process of forming the substantially serpentine slot can be easily modified to achieve various substantially serpentine slots having different numbers and locations of points of contact.

FIG. 6 shows another alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention. A substantially circular serpentine slot 62 is made using either a diameter cutter or die cast method. Like the substantially straight serpent slot illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the substantially circular serpentine slot includes an area of central clearance such that a ring-like object, such as a substantially circular wall-like structure 61, can be inserted into the area of central clearance and be supported by the serpentine slot via support points 63. This enclosure like scheme is commonly referred to as “dog houses,” which is usually formed by conventional methods such as screws or metal clips similar to FIG. 7. It is contemplated as a part of the present invention that any schematic path of the serpentine slot may be formed to support any wall-like structure.

Patent Citations
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US3740699 *Dec 2, 1971Jun 19, 1973Gte Sylvania IncPrinted circuit board connector
US5393249 *Jun 30, 1993Feb 28, 1995Adc Telecommunications, Inc.Rear cross connect DSX system
US5433616 *Jan 24, 1994Jul 18, 1995E.I. Du Pont De Nemours And CompanyLow profile surface-mounted connector having curved cantilevered spring contacts
US5926374 *Apr 17, 1998Jul 20, 1999Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki KaishaIC card
US6017246 *Jun 5, 1997Jan 25, 2000Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.Printed wiring board
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7170755 *Dec 9, 2003Jan 30, 2007Tellabs Petaluma, Inc.Electronics card with an alignment opening
Classifications
U.S. Classification361/741, 257/679, 361/802, 361/756, 211/41.17, 361/799
International ClassificationH01R13/658
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/65802, H05K3/366, H01R4/28, H01R12/52
European ClassificationH01R13/658B
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